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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Farmer's Wife-Guest Post

Today I have a guest post for you from Amy Brandemuehl.  I do not know Amy, but we are both members of a Facebook page called the Farm Wives Support Group.  She posted this awhile back and I asked if I could share it with all of you.  She wrote it in response to a situation a friend was going through and I think she perfectly described the life of a farm wife.  Enjoy! -A Kansas Farm Mom  

Farmer's Wife
By Amy Brandemuehl
January 6, 2015

It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to be a farmer/rancher's wife. It is one of the hardest, loneliest, saddest, rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying, educating jobs out there, and yes, it is a job, it is a career, and it is a choice. You choose to be a farmer's wife when you chose the farmer to be your life mate.
 
Is it easy? No, but anything worthwhile rarely is. Is it a 9-5 job 5 days a week? HECK NO!

It is planning your wedding for after planting but before haying starts, and your anniversary is usually doing one of those two activities. It is all hours of the day and night in all kinds of weather. It is freezing temperatures, thawing the water tank when it is 30 below wind chill, and sweltering heat,working cattle through the chute, breaking you down.
 
It is rarely having the ability to commit to some activity in the future as something usually happens to delay or cause you to miss the activity. It is going to weddings and parties by yourself during certain times of the year due to fieldwork, calving, or just break-downs in general.

Vacations are a luxury that some farmers have to plan a year in advance so that there are no cows to milk, calves to feed, grain to plant or harvest. And even then hard to get away because something may happen at the last minute. Holidays like Christmas happen, but only after chores are done.

Dates are usually few and far between, and usually consist of a picnic lunch in a tractor out in some field while cutting or baling hay. Even when the work is all done and life slows down for the winter, going out seems like more work than it is worth, due to it being so cold out, and after fighting it all day, your husband is grateful to be sitting in his chair in a nice warm house. It is a treat not to have to make one meal once in a while, but more of a treat to have them in the house on time to sit down as a family for a home cooked meal.

A farmer's wife holds many jobs in which she does not draw a salary, she is a chef, preparing foods that will hold her family over until the next meal, a driver, of anything with 4 wheels or more, a gopher, go for parts or helping move machinery from farm to farm, a plumber when laying waterlines for new hydrant or thawing out a water tank, a cowgirl to ride the pastures on horseback to check or move the herd, a laborer helping pick up and stack wood for the winter, and a mud runner when the cattle fall out of the trailer in town on a warm winter day.

She has to be a peacemaker to smooth some of the rough edges, some of our farmers have, yet be strong enough to put her foot down when our farmer thinks he needs to buy that new machinery when what he has will work a bit longer. She must have the patience to put up with dinner ready at 6 and not eaten till 9. She has to be self reliant because when the dishwasher breaks, she better have her computer handy to find a YouTube video on how to fix it.

Be willing to forgo a date night in order to save a half frozen calf. Know that she can't be superwoman and do it all, but also not be afraid to shed some tears when a calf she has worked hard to keep alive, loses the battle.
She must multitask taking care of her home, children, chores, finances, and husband before she finds time for herself.

A farmer's wife rarely comes first, but that isn't always so bad. To see smiling, healthy children, healthy livestock, abundant crops, sometimes the farm wife has to look at the whole picture, not the day to day struggle.

A farmer's wife is not born that way, it is a learning experience that is never ending. A woman could be born and raised on a farm and still have many things to learn. To become a farmer's wife and have rarely experienced farm life growing up is even harder.

I give a lot of credit to my mother who was raised in a metropolitan area who met and married my dad who was both a surgeon and a farmer. This year they will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on the farm where they raised us six kids to be independent self reliant adults.
 
Adults that can drive just about anything with 4 wheels or more, help bring a newborn animal into the world, and have the ability to effectively manage finances.
 
We didn't always have a lot of material items growing up, but we all knew we were loved and we respected our roots and grew to be some pretty awesome adults with the tools we need to pass that wisdom on to our children.

I am proud to be a farmer's wife. My life is complete. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I won't lie and say every day is wonderful, but the good days outnumber the bad. I want to be that woman that my farmer comes home to, that shares in his triumphs and helps him through his loses.
 
I may grumble when woken in the dead of the night to rescue him when he is broken down on the side of the road, but I would rather be the person who helps him than some stranger that could do him harm.

Life is what you make of it, if you go into it with a positive attitude, you are more likely to have a positive outcome, so if you can't handle the heat, stay out of the fire.

This can also apply to those strong women who farm on their own due to many different circumstances. They have my utmost respect because they don't always have someone to share their burdens with.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary the end of this May, I have a feeling it will be in a field somewhere, but that is OK, I am just thankful for every day that I can call myself a farmer's wife.
Another note from KFM:  I wonder if all the girls on the Bachelor know what being the wife of a farmer really means.  Should we send this to them and see if they are willing to share their house with a half frozen calf?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Goat Farmer Math






















In an effort to make math more interesting for kids and to make my kids understand that math really is important, I have started a series of Farmer Math questions to go along with the Flat Aggie reports.  These are patterned after the blog Bedtime Math.  Some of the questions are easy enough for pre-schoolers and sometimes I come up with some to even challenge high school seniors.

These questions follow the report Flat Aggie's Trip to SoCal.  Additional educational materials can be found in the post All About Goats.

1. When Flat Aggie arrived at the Nadadrop Ranch, 3 mama goats (called does) had each just given birth to 3 baby goats (called kids).  How many kids were born just before Flat Aggie arrived?

2.  While Flat Aggie stayed at the Nadadrop Ranch, 12 does gave birth to 3 kids each.  How many kids were born while Flat Aggie was at the Nadadrop Ranch?

3.  If the ranch has 50 does and 23 of them had given birth when Flat Aggie left, how many does are left to have kids?

4.  If the ranch has 50 does and 23 of them have kidded, what percentage are left to have kids?

5.  If the ranch has 50 does and 1 of them does not have kids, what percentage had kids in all?

1.) 9 kids  2.) 36 kids  3.) 27 does 4.) 54%  5.) 98%


If you are a teacher or homeschooler that would like more information to go with the Flat Aggie reports, send me a message on my contact form.  Along with the report and the Farmer Math questions, we send each teacher an additional page of activities, crossword puzzles and sometimes a few hands on activities.

-A Kansas Farm Mom